This blog is a personal take on Listowel, Co. Kerry. I am writing for anyone anywhere with a Listowel connection but especially for sons and daughters of Listowel who find themselves far from home. Contact me at

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Carrigafoyle, Unrest in Duagh in 1913 and Utopia, a Victim of the Pandemic

Carrigafoyle Castle 2020  Photo: Breda Ferris



Holy War in Duagh in 1913


Irish Examiner Thursday, October 23, 1913



On Sunday last a public meeting of very large dimensions was held in the village of Duagh for the purpose of condemning an outrage of a most unusual and and at the same time diabolical character, which was perpetrated at Lyrecrumpane some weeks previously. The outrage, which aroused so much horror and indignation, consisted of a shot being fired through the window of one of the most highly respected members of the community, Mr. Patrick Moloney, R.D.C., where, for the want of a Chapel, the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass is being offered up weekly by the Rev. J. Beasley, P.P., in his house. 

The dastardly act of the abandoned miscreant, needless to say, carries with it the unspeakable abhorrence and condemnation of an indignant community, and the extraordinary numbers in which the outraged parishioners as well as many outside the parish, and the representative  character of the assemblage, very amply indicated their feelings, as well as affording practical proof if such were necessary—that their beloved and intensely popular Parish Priest the Rev John Beasley, will not be insulted or intimidated with impunity.  It should be mentioned that, this demonstration was the result of the generous and spontaneous volition of the people themselves, who are almost to a man virile and enthusiastic members of the A.O.H., and who would on no condition whatever brook slight or insult offered their revered pastor. 

After last Mass, the whole congregation, headed by the splendid fife and drum band of the A.O.H., under the able conductorship of their instructor, Mr. Salmon, marched in procession to a substantially-built platform erected al the top of the village, and bedecked with National designs and greenery to a profuse extent.

The arrival of the Rev. Father Beasley was the signal for an enthusiastically and long continued round of cheers.

Amongst those present were noticed—Messrs F C O’Keeffe, R.D.C., President of the Duagh Branch of the A.O.H. (the fourth largest in the county), J J Sheehy, R.D.C., V.C. do; Patrick Moloney, R. D.C: Thomas Relihan, R.D.C; .James O’Sullivan, Trien; Patrick Stack, Thomas Daly, James Mahony, N.T; Thomas Molyneaux, N.T; John McCarthv, N.T; Edward Stack, N.T;  J Casey, N.T.; Jeremiah Lyons, Michael O’Brien, J. Gunn, D. Broderick, J Roche, M Mulcare, Murt Daly, James Hickey, M Gair, D Hayes, T. Dillon, John Dillon, J. Maher. Tom Faley, P. Larkin, James Harnett, P Mahony, Thomas O’Connor, P O’Connor, John Joyce, D Ambrose, James Moloney, Daniel Keane, R Finucane, J Halpin, J Scanlan, Stephen Stack, T Sheehy, C Sheehy, M Sheehy, Michael O’Connor, Jeremiah Relihan, T Roche, J. O’Connor, Tom Keane, John Stack, J Costelloe, John Molyneaux, Jeremiah McCarthy,  J O’Keeffe, J J  Dillon, J McElligott, Thade Galvin, Dan Mc-Auliffe, W McAuliffe, J Fitzgerald, John Flynn, George Fitzmaurice,  Thos. O’Brien, J H O’Sullivan, Michael Sheehy, J. Kelly, G Kelly, P Walsh, M Quill, James Stack, Neddy Stack. John Sheehy, Michael Sheehy, M Relihan, M Galvin, Michael Sheehy, J Sheehy, Batt Dillon, Jack Sheehy, Edward Dillon, Shaun, Darb, Davy Dillon, Jas Horgan, D Flynn, T Flynn, Batt O’Connor, W. J O’Connor, Con O’Keeffe, J Brosnan, Daniel Keane, J Moloney, Matt Dillon, P Lane, C. McAuliffe, Dan L Brosnan, Michael Keane, Maurice Keane, Jerh Brosnan, John Collins, Matt D Dillon, Michael Dillon, J Wiley, D. O’Grady, J Faley, D Brosnan, Tim Brosnan, F O’Carroll, Dan Brosnan, J. Brandon, Pat Keane. John Walsh, M Walsh, Jim Fitzgerald, James Corridan, Moss Corridan, Tady Corridan, etc.

Mr. W. L. Fitzgerald, U.D.C., P.L.G., Listowel, also occupied a prominent position on the platform.

On the motion of Mr. F. C. O’Keeffe, seconded by Mr. J. J. Sheehy,

The Rev. J. Beasley, P.P., was moved to the chair, and amidst enthusiastic cheers and addressing the meeting, said :—

My dear people, I thank you for inviting me here to-day (“You are welcome”). I have to thank you also for the honour you have done me in asking me to preside over this large and important meeting. I am pleased to see you all consider it your duty to hold this meeting here to-day in order to protest against an outrage that has shocked and pained the people of the parish. If there is one thing more than another for which Irishmen are remarkable, and for which they may be pardoned in taking a legitimate pride, ” it is for being kind and neighbourly (hear, hear). You all know how much our kind-hearted friend, Mr Moloney is respected for these qualities and for all the virtues that go to make a good Irishman (cheers for Mr Moloney). No man could he kinder, on man more popular—he is popular without seeking popularity (cheers); he is friendly to all, and always anxious to help his neighbours when necessary (applause). It was a particularly odious crime to attack the house of one who deserves nothing but the goodwill of his neighbours—one whom we, all so highly esteem (cheers). It was an outrage not against him alone, but against the whole community, especially against the good people of that part of the parish where it was committed (hear. hear). The outrage is blacker and more painful still when we look at it from a religious point of view. Here is a house which should be particularly sacred to every Catholic who loves his faith. In it Sunday Mass was celebrated for the people of the district. You are all aware of the sanctity of the Sacrifice of the Altar. It is the offering of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, Our Lord, for the salvation of the living and of the dead who shall suffer in Purgatory. The Mass is the great Sacrifice of the New Law, the bed-rock of our Faith. It was their love of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass Hint made the Catholics of our country face privations and persecutions of every kind in the Penal days (hear, hear). For it they were ready to give up everything, even life itself (cheers). They gathered round the priest at sacred spots in the mountains and glens and whilst he offered up the Holy Sacrifice they knelt down in humble devotion round the altar. What would they say; what would those who have gone before us say if they were alive to-day of an outrage at a house in the mountains of a parish in which Mass was celebrated on Sundays for the people. Could they imagine how anyone could be so lost, so dead to the fear, of God and to the reverence due to Him as to commit such a crime? . If such an outrage were committed in France at the bidding of a French infidel, what would be your horror? How much worse is it not when committed at home at the  bidding of some person or persons who style themselves Christians? My dear people, we would be unworthy descendants of our Catholic- forefathers, who suffered so much for their Faith, if we did not condemn and repudiate this outrage in the strongest language at our command (hear, hear). Whilst we deplore and condemn it, let us be merciful; let us hope and pray that whoever has so given way to the temptation of the devil as to perpetrate it will repent, and resolve never again to be guilty of such a cowardly and disgraceful deed (cheers). We are upon the eve of a great triumph, for our country’s victory is almost in view. The government of the country will be soon, please God in the hands of the people of Ireland (loud cheers). Let us show our fitness for it, and that we are worthy of it by our respect for God, for our neighbours, and for everything that would rebound to the credit of our race at home and abroad (loud cheers), The eyes of the world are on us at present; we are still on our trial; let us show that we are not what the enemies of our country represent us to be, but that we are patriotic, just, straightforward, honourable men (cheers). It is righteous men who should make our land a nation once again (cheers). Let us like good patriots and Nationalists, feel a pride in our native county—the good old Kingdom, and when Home Rule comes, let us be able to prove that amidst all the flags that shall be unfurled. The flag of Kerry shall be up unstained and unsullied (loud and prolonged cheers).

Mr F. C. O’Keeffe then proposed the following resolution—”Resolved,—That we, the people of Duagh, in public meeting assembled, desire to express in the strongest possible manner our condemnation and abhorrence  of the outrage committed at a house, in the parish at which the Holy sacrifice of the Mass is celebrated on Sundays for the parishioners and which is occupied by a gentleman who has earned and enjoys the respect of those around him; that we are sure that the conduct of the miscreant or miscreants has met with no sympathy, and that we trust this district will never again be disgraced by such a foul deed. (hear. hear). In speaking to the resolution, he said he felt sure he had the sympathy of every man present who professed to be a Catholic and a Christian, for he thought no more cowardly or diabolical act could be perpetrated by any person than to fire into a house where the  Holy Sacrifice of the Mass had been offered up for the consolation and benefit of the people of the district (hear, hear). …


We Have Another Name

Asdee Players, the gentleman back row , second from left was Jimmy Carroll from Kilcoman, Asdee, my cousin.

He was a farmer and is succeeded by his niece Norma Connor ( nee Long) who still lives on same farm.  John Nolan from Bedford, England 

(Thanks John)


Utopia to Close

The following is Seraphina’s sad message on Facebook

To all our loyal customers, it is with great sadness that I say this, but today I’m announcing the closure of Utopia boutique.

I wish to thank you all, customers retailers friends and family for the most special memories. I thank you all I can never thank you enough for all that we have shared together.

This has been the hardest year to date, we have been working very hard trying to salvage the business,trying to pay the bills,the will is there but unfortunately the way is too hard in this current economic climate.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Kathleen and Mary Louise, who have been with me since I started in 2007. Two of the most loyal and beautiful people it’s been my pleasure to work with. It is very difficult closing, I honestly hoped for a better outcome but I look forward to welcoming you all in for the last time, While we have a closing down sale ….starting tomorrow.

Wishing you all the best in these tough times

love and thanks



Yesterday was bread, Today it’s Sugar

In his search for information about the Mullally’s of Church St. Dave O’Sullivan found this interesting titbit.

Writers Week 2007, St. Patrick’s Day 1961 and an old class photo and Helen O’Connor R.I.P.

We were never more conscious of the truth of this statement on the Listowel Community Centre gable than now in March 2020 at the height of the Covid 19 crisis.

Greg McDonough of Listowel and China who has just come out of quarantine set up a Facebook group for us

Listowel Covid 19

Here you can find up to date information about shop closures, services and who to turn to for help.


Listowel Writers Week

Plans for a big birthday celebration are frozen for the moment but hope springs eternal….

In the meantime Mattie Lennon, a great of friend of Writers’ Week and a great friend of this blog has been reminiscing. Here are his memories of the 2007 festival. His essay is a long diary like text so I’ll give it to you over a few days.

Once again I paid my annual visit to the most prestigious literary festival in Europe, if not in the world. On Wednesday 30th May Writers’ Week 2007 was officially opened  by renowned writer Joseph O ‘Connor. The author of such masterpieces as Star Of The Sea and more recently Redemption Falls, as well as many humorous works, complimented the Kerry people on their organising skills, literary and artistic prowess, footballing ability and of course . . . their great humility.

He later gave an example of Kerry wit when he told about meeting a friend of his who was on his way to meet Carlo Gebler and Joseph was asked, “Will you follow me up to Carlo?”Prize-winners were announced (Roddy Doyle won the €10,000 Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award for Paula Spencer). Pauline Scanlon who spent three years with the Sharon Shannon Band provided music, to a packed house.

On Thursday a full schedule started with a recording of Sunday Miscellany in Saint John’s Theatre where local writer Cyril Kelly regaled us with the story of how he had been in that particular venue when it was a mortal sin (Saint John’s was a Protestant Church at the time).

Through the day readings by Joseph O’Connor, Colm Tobin, John McGrath (whose book of poetry Blue Sky Day was launched), Roger McGough, and others stimulated the literary minds of the visitor.

Food for thought was in plentiful supply at Amnesty Event with Fergal Keane, Gerard Stembridge and Zlata Filipovic. Next Door by Listowel man John McAuliffe was launched and Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion read from his autobiography In The Blood; A Memoir of My Childhood.

Poets, essayists and others got a chance to perform their own work at the microphone at Poet’s Corner where the Master-of-ceremonies was the inimitable George Rowley.

(I’ve just read that and marvelled at the star studded lineup of visitors in 2007.)


St. Patrick’s Day Pageant 1961

Máire MacMahon found these among some old Drama Group stuff. Does anyone remember this?


Mr. Kenny’s Fourth Class sometime in the 1980s


+ R.I.P. Helen O’Connor +

Helen O’Connor, who passed away at the weekend was very happy  and proud on this summer Sunday in her beloved Duagh as she introduced me to her godson, John Relihan, who had brought a taste of international outdoor dining to her little corner of the world.

Helen had a gifted pair of hands. Her name will live on in the many many crochet and knitted pieces that she made for clients all over the world. If you have one of Helen’s creations, keep it and treasure it and tell your family that it was made by a lovely lady, who was one of the best crafters in Kerry in her time.

I took this photo of Helen with our knitting group in Scribes  the last time I met her. She was in good form and breathing a sigh of relief that she was free of treatment for a while. Helen told us that she had done something while on chemo that she hadn’t done before. She knitted a sweater for herself. It was beautiful. Helen was pleased with it and was planning to knit the pattern again in another colour. She had lost a lot of weight but Helen was seeing this as a positive and was determined to keep her weight down in future.

Because of the present Covid 19 restrictions, Helen’s grieving family are deprived of the comfort of a funeral. We, her many many friends are deprived of a chance to tell Tom and all her family how much we loved her and we will miss her too.

Helen’s busy hands are now still, A huge wealth of talent and skill has gone into the grave with her. I count myself among the many who were blessed to have known this humble and kind lady. 

May she rest in peace.

Historian in Residence, A Generous Maloney, Stained Glass Windows

When there was a phone box on every corner


Tom Takes up a new post

Ennismore native, Tom Dillon is a passionate historian. He is an expert on North Kerry men who fought in two world wars. He has recently been appointed as Historian in Residence by Kerry County Council.

Tom has always been a busy man and now he is about to become even busier. I heard him recently with Frank Lewis on Radio Kerry’s Saturday Supplement telling the fascinating story of one of Kerry’s most notorious faction fights between the Cooleens and the Lawlors at Ballyeigh.

Tom is on the far right with Jim Dunn, Mike Lynch and Rose Wall Volunteering at a Graham Norton event at Listowel Writers’ Week.

Tom is among North Kerry history lovers, Martin Moore, Declan Downey, Michael Guerin and myself in Ashe Hall where Tom gave an excellent lecture on the Fitzgeralds, Knights of Kerry.


A Duagh Philatropist

William Maloney was born in Duagh County Kerry, Ireland, in 1828, and died in Pittsburgh, Dec. 28, 1870.

All affairs bearing on the public good interested Mr. Maloney, and the weight of his influence and his moral and financial support were always forthcoming in aid of such activities. Charitable cause made and unfailing appeal to his warmly, generous and sincere nature, and he was especially friendly to St. Paul’s Orphan Asylum. He was a member of St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church, then at Fifth and Grant streets, and there was no branch of its work that did not owe a large part of its comfortable ease in financial relations to his never-failing donations. He was known for his ever-courteous manner and was a musician of accomplishment. His religious convictions were strong, and, practical man of affairs the he was, he believed that they were worthy of the best of his means.

William Maloney married Mary B. Mullin, daughter of Thomas and Mary Mullin, her father a linen manufacturer of note at Carrickmacross, a famous linen center of Ireland. Her mother, Mary Mullin, came to the United States a short time after her son John, Mr. Maloney’s partner, had made Pittsburgh his home. Mrs. Maloney, a devoted mother, and active charity worker, an accomplished home maker, died Aug. 25, 1914. 


Listowel Convent Windows in their new home

A Corkman, Eddie Hyland has been studying stained glass windows from the Harry Clarke studios in Dublin. His research brought him to two windows in Presentation Convent chapel  in Listowel.

The chapel was deconsecrated and the windows dispersed. Eddie started a search that brought him to sources like Listowel Connection as well as the Presentation archive.

Here is his latest letter bringing the news that his search iOS over and has been successful

Dear Mary

I’ve located the Saint Patrick window; it is in the parish church [named Saint Patrick’s]

in the tiny village of Knockavilla near Upton in Co Cork.

I’m sending to you as attachments photos of both windows. As you can see the Saint Michael

window has been reworked somewhat to make it fit into the opening in Blackrock Church, Cork.

The Saint Patrick is however unaltered. It is not however fitted into a wall opening but instead

is located in a custom made wooden frame and artificially back lit

Again thank you for all of your help and encouragement


Ed Hyland 


Duagh, The Imeldist, Listowel Friday Market and Australian Wildfires

Ballybunion in late December 2019


Nollaig na mBan

Today is Jan 6th, the feast of the Epiphany, when the three wise men made it to the stable in Bethlehem. Its the day when we put the last three figures into the crib only to take it all down shortly afterwards as we pack Christmas away for another year. This year I did a bit of a tour of the local cribs. I’ll bring a few photos later on although I think most people are ready to leave the festive season behind by now.


Fr. Pat Moore R.I.P.

Duagh people remembered their good friend and beloved parish priest at Christmas time 2019


Do You Remember This?

The Imeldist was a little booklet published by the Dominicans and sold in schools around

the country. It was filled with little moral stories and poems.  If anyone kept one please share it with us.


Listowel Friday Market

I subscribe to en email service from Google called Google Alerts. Every so often I get an email alerting me to something that is happening in town. Sometimes it’s news, sometimes it’s not. Last week this was what it sent to me. 

Listowel Farmers’ Market is a the longest-running food market in Kerry with tens years under its belt. It is a hubbub of activity every Friday and brings vibrant life to the town square. You can’t miss it!

Address: The Square, Listowel 

Date/Time: Fridays 9am-2pm 

Contact: Anita Bodenham 

Phone: (087) 3936698 

E mail;

Maybe someone is making a New Year’s resolution to take a stand at the market. Maybe someone reading this has a great business idea and this might just be the impetus he needs to take his business to the Square on a Friday. Despite its title, I dont think there are too many farmers there these days.


Pray for Australia

This reflection comes from the Redemptorists in Australia

Inexhaustible fire!

The climate is changing. The oceans are warming and drying lands have become frighteningly fire prone. Global warming bears down on humanity and indeed all of nature. Seasonally on red horizons and under black skies the world witnesses more frequent and ferocious bush fires, wild fires, forest and grassland fires.

Most people marvel at the interrelated systems that make up the universe and which have birthed the living earth, our home. Humans gazing into nature’s mirror see themselves as part of earth’s systems and know now it is time for systemic change. For such change to take root we have become urgently aware that humanity has a part to play.

Not only are humans the children of the earth, we are its stewards. Today people know that partisan responses to a warming earth are at least passé and at most irresponsibly destructive. They know that unless nations, vested interests, political parties and people on the street get beyond partisanship the earth will continue to burn as humanity flounders in a vale of tears.

Speaking of fire, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-73) mused: “Of all the fires, love is the only inexhaustible one.” It seems therefore that only love and its derivatives – respect, listening, cooperation and commitment will guide humanity to the new heaven and new earth of divine promise and human hope.

God of the universe, move our hearts, clear our minds and lead all peoples to bless the earth with a love for all that is good, all that is generous and holy, all that has been given us. Come Holy Spirit and renew the face of the earth. Amen.

Duagh Parish Live Crib 2017 and an aerial view of Listowel in the 1950s

Sheep at The Gap of Dunloe

Photo: Chris Grayson


Duagh’s Live Crib

The best of all the Christmas cribs is the one in Duagh. It gets better every year . This year my visit was tinged with much sadness as we missed Fr. Pat Moore from a place he loved so well.

Here is a link to Fr. Pat in 2015, when he was on a break from his treatment, introducing the crib;

Duagh Parish Crib, Christmas 2015

A large photo of Fr. Pat greets you as you enter the crib and his presence is everywhere in this lovely place. I hope that the local people, who are still grieving his loss, continue the tradition of the live crib for years and years. It was a project of which he was very proud and he was so so proud of his friends who worked so hard on this project, year in year out.

My boys posed for me with this lovely window in the background. I taught them about the candle and the welcome and we felt the welcome and the hospitality on our trip to Duagh.

There is lots to learn in Duagh. A visit to this crib is a time to linger and ponder the story of Christmas while we revel in community, family and remembrance.

The entrance is through a magical leafy path  which creates the atmosphere of a cave.

The first stable was a kind of cave.

Inside it’s dark and intimate with the crowing of the cock and the smells of the animals bringing the story to life.

The crib tableau was a gift from the cathedral in Killarney. It forms the centrepiece of this lovely scene.

After our visit to the live crib we went into the church. It too was in all  its festive dress.


Poles Apart

Bernard O’Connell follows this blog from Brampton, Ontario in Canada.

Julie Evans follows from down under in Sydney, Australia


Listowel in the 1950s

Ned O’Sullivan posted these photos of Listowel in the 1950s on Facebook

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